Would we go back:
215 4th Street S
• Crab Cake preserved lemons, smoked tomato aïoli (shared) $9
• Truffle & Fontina Cheese Curds garlic aïoli, sriracha aïoli (shared) $9
• Red Curry Ahi red beet risotto, cilantro oil, orange braised hazelnut fennel $25
• chef’s personal presentation of individual servings of classic desserts:
• Chocolate Peanut Butter Whopper Cake
• Raspberry Limoncello Mousse
• Double Chocolate Cake
• (shared) $2.50 each
To be honest I did not have high expectations for Restaurant Max. Since it is a hotel restaurant and generally they really are hit or miss. In this case I would say they are a hit, and they fully exceeded my expectation.
We went without child, so that may have made the experience even more enjoyable. But I really enjoyed the crab cake, it was well above average. The cheese curds were probably above average for cheese curds, but they were something I would not order again. My tuna was perfect. The desserts were very clever and wonderful way to feel like you got a lot for a little.
I also had a drink that sounded weird but worked on every level. The Mississippi Molotov, it was a combination of Citron, chiles, orange lemon and strawberries. It had a great kick is more ways than one.
Overall, I really liked the space and our meal was great. I would suggest giving it a try.
• Roasted Duck Breast confit, sweet potato gratin, foie gras sauce $27.00
Sometimes going out to dinner is about managing expectations. This is especially true when going to new places all the time. I did not have high expectations for Restaurant Max. It’s a hotel restaurant in downtown Minneapolis and our experience with hotel restaurants has been spotty at best. By comparison, Restaurant Max serves better food than most hotel restaurants and the service was extremely thoughtful and attentive.
We started with the crab cake and cheese curds. Now that’s a combination. But the cheese curds were dressed up with Fontina cheese – and I expect to see more cheese curds variations on menus throughout the Twin Cities. They’re good, popular and fun. You feel like you’re at the State Fair and it takes some of the edge off when dining out, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Note that the Fontina cheese was somewhat bland (if you’re making them at home try something with more flavor), but I still liked the cheese curds. The crab cake was a good choice as well; plenty of crab and good lemon flavors. We have had better dipping sauces, but again, I still liked the crab cake.
The duck breast, although higher priced, was a large portion. Restaurant Max serves a duck breast along with another large piece of duck confit. The duck confit is a slow-cooked, tender piece of duck, and Restaurant Max’s was salty. The duck was good, not great; I’ve had better duck at several restaurants over the last year and a half. The sweet potato gratin was an acceptable side dish, but nothing too outstanding. While sweet potatoes are a good choice in fall and winter, I would be interested to see if they update this for spring and summer.
The desserts are a stroke of genius! Small, delicious portions that are served in approximately 3 ounce glasses. They make the desserts to stock in advance, reducing the hassle for the kitchen and wait staff to get them to the table. The price point is perfect; we ordered three to share, and two per person works as well.
$20 and up
February 21, 2009